Desiree Barao Garcia, 2015-2017, Germany (right), on the “Change” leg of the 2016 Millennial Train Project journey
I want you to think about this statement: “Amazon is just a start-up, they have a long way to go.”
Do you agree with it? Well, I don’t. Yet this is exactly Amazon’s understanding of themselves. They state that their revenue currently only accounts for 1% of the world’s retail volume, i.e., they have big goals of taking over the world and are just beginning to do so. And, they are not the only ones. For years now, big companies and larger businesses have been taking over entire industries causing a power imbalance that eventually benefits very few shareholders while, in my opinion, disadvantaging employees and customers, often harming families, and communities as a whole.
From a customer perspective, larger companies eventually gaining the power of monopolies or duopolies will raise prices beyond what may be affordable for the average person. Enabled to set prices, they will choose profit maximizing prices rather than watching out for customers who may not have sufficient financial ability to pay. And while this situation currently applies mostly to luxury goods, knowing that the greater part of the retail industry is being taken over by large companies, I fear that this will – in the future – also be the case for basic suppliers.
Mikayla Posey, 2015-2016, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Germany and Reach the World Traveler (left), with a friend
In partnership with Reach the World (RTW), the Fulbright U.S. Student Program is publishing a series of articles written by Fulbright English Teaching Assistants participating in Reach the World’s Traveler correspondents program, which through its interactive website, enriches the curriculum of elementary and secondary classrooms (primarily located in New York City but also nationwide) by connecting them to the experiences of volunteer Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETAs) and other world travelers who are currently studying and living abroad.
Where do you consider your home? What are important parts of your home? Can your home change? When I was a kid, I had very clear answers to these questions. My home was 760 Crestwood. It was the brick house with a pine tree out front, my room inside with my stuffed animals and the people who lived there—my family! However, over time my understanding of my “home” changed. First, it changed when my parents divorced and then I had two homes and eventually two great families. It also changed when I decided to go to university over 1,000 miles away from Arizona. But even when my address changed and new people surrounded me, I always felt at home because I always had a community. What is a community? It can mean lots of things, but for me it means being surrounded by people who truly care about you, whether family, friends, teachers, coworkers or roommates.
Until I moved to Germany on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, my community always sprung from either my family or my school. However, when I arrived in Germany, I felt for the first time that I was very alone. I did not know anyone my city, all my coworkers seemed to already have their own friends and, on top of that, I was having a hard time speaking German. It’s much harder to make friends when you are not comfortable speaking their language!
Brandon Tensley (far right), 2012-2013, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Germany, with one of his fifth grade classes at Realschule Stadtmitte in Mülheim an der Ruhr
In honor of Black History Month, we are re-posting Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Germany Brandon Tensley’s article, in which he describes what it was like being a black American teaching English in a German primary school while also encouraging fellow black students to study abroad and “tell America’s story” of diversity from the unique perspective that only living in another country can provide.
Most of the time, I’d hear them before I’d see them.
“Are you the teacher from America?”
I’d spin around, and there’d be a knot of students, their shyness trumped by their curiosity, hungry to confirm the rumor floating around about an Ausländer—foreigner—on campus.
“That’s me,” I’d say, laughing. “And who are you?”
But they’d rarely be interested in talking. A moment later, I’d have about a dozen tiny fists, clutching bits of paper, waving in my face.
“Your autograph!” they’d demand. I’d comply, and they’d make off with their new bounty.
Fulbrighters Tobi and Mariana
Our Fulbright Programs started with a Fulbright Gateway Orientation. As with any event these days, there was a Facebook group so that grantees could meet and find people who were going to our same host university. Tobi and I met there. We were both going to be studying at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and we started talking online. It was great to meet someone who was going through the same things as I was, and it was comforting to know that I would already have a friend in the city that would be home for the next two years.
August 20, 2012 came fast. It was the day I was to fly from Mexico City to Jackson, Mississippi for my Fulbright Gateway Orientation. It was an exciting time, and I was thrilled to meet so many other grantees. Tobi and I met after the first orientation session, when everyone was just standing around meeting new people. Suddenly, he came up to me and said, “You’re Mariana.” I remember thinking to myself that I really liked him when we went to a Mexican restaurant later and he asked me what to order. I suggested a popular beer cocktail called a Michelada. I didn’t think he would like it because Germans have a specific way they like their beer and that is with, well, just beer. This cocktail had everything from lime juice to hot sauce—he liked it. Success!
Jonathan Rabb, 2012-2013, Germany, hiking in Marburg
“If you surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, there is no telling how far you will go.” That is what Reiner Rohr, the Deputy Director of the German Fulbright Commission, told me and a small group of bright-eyed Fulbrighters upon our arrival in country. This just so happens to be some of the most important advice I have ever gotten, and it helped me utilize every single moment of my grant to the fullest.
My name is Jonathan Rabb and I was one of seven journalists awarded Fulbright’s Beginning Professional Journalists grants to Germany for the 2012-2013 academic year. This grant was created in 1996 to allow a select group of promising U.S. journalists to come to Germany to conduct research, improve their craft, and complete residencies at German media and news outlets. For my particular grant, I did multiple residencies in digital audience development and transmedia, including one at UFA LAB, a one-of-a-kind digital creative lab owned by the oldest and largest production company in Germany. At UFA LAB, I worked on developing new formats for online television and did on-air coverage in both German and English for “eNtR berlin,” a YouTube channel, on events ranging from Barack Obama’s historic 2013 visit to Berlin to re:publica, one of the world’s largest and most important conferences on digital culture.